Maguire nets the Spartans’ winner

Blyth Spartans AFC.
Blyth Spartans AFC.

Stockport County 0-1 Blyth Spartans

Dan Maguire scored the only goal of the game to shock league leaders Stockport County and maintain Blyth Spartans push for the play-offs with their fourth successive win.

Maguire slotted home his 20th league goal of the season 19 minutes in after Spartans caught the hosts on the break.

Stockport almost took the lead in the first six minutes, a long clearance by keeper Ben Hinchcliffe caught the Spartans defence napping before Paul Turnbull turned the ball across goal for Darren Stephenson but he could only fire wide from six yards.

The home side would rue that miss 13 minutes later as Spartans caught them on the break. Green combined well with Jarrett Rivers before playing in Maguire, who showed great footwork to get half a yard for a shot before slotting home inside the far post.

Maguire probably should have added a second just five minutes before half time after another quick counter. The Spartans striker slipped the ball through to Rivers who instantly cut it back only for Maguire to fire straight to the keeper who did well to close down the angle.

The hosts piled on the pressure late in the half, but struggled to create a clear opening, with Scott Duxbury heading their best chance harmlessly over on the stroke of half time.

With two half-time substitutions, Stockport bombarded Spartans with a series of corners at the start of the second half.

But out of the blue it was Spartans who almost doubled their advantage when Maguire beat the offside trap only to see his effort hit the bar.

Stockport had a point-blank header saved by Peter Jameson. And their bad day at the office continued as they struggled to get through a stubborn Spartans defence well marshalled by Nathan Buddle and Jordan Watson.

In the last 10 minutes it was much of the same story, however as the clock hit the 90th minute Spartans hearts were in mouths as Frank Mulhern manged to get some space on the byline and saw his mishit cross hit the bar.

However, that was as close as Stockport would get as Spartans secured a memorable victory. They now go into the final three games just three points behind Telford United who occupy the final play-off spot.